Library Types


National library is a library that is responsible for acquiring and conserving copies of all relevant documents published in the country in which the library is located. The definition of “national library” allows for more than one national library in a country.


Academic library is a library whose primary function is to cover the information needs of learning and research. This includes libraries of institutions of higher education and general research libraries.


Public library is a general library that is open to the public (even if its services are primarily intended for a particular part of the population to be served, such as children, visually impaired persons, or hospital patients) and that serves the whole population of a local or regional community and is usually financed, in whole or in part, from public funds. Its basic services are free of charge or available for a subsidized fee.


Community library is a library that is not part of an area’s statutory library provision and is not managed or fully funded by a local or national government authority. A community library provides library services to the population of a local or regional community and may be managed and funded by community groups, charities, NGOs and others. However, they may still receive some public funding from the local authority to provide library services based on different funding models.


School library is a library attached to all types of schools below the third (tertiary) level of education whose primary function is to serve the pupils and teachers of such a school, however it may also serve the general public.


Other libraries are all other libraries that do not appear in one of other categories of libraries (national, academic, public, community and school libraries) and are not included elsewhere in this survey. Other libraries may include, for example, special libraries, government libraries, medical libraries, industrial and commercial libraries and other libraries that are not included elsewhere.